Why is a 43% Failure Rate in College Considered College-Prep?

December 16, 2012

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IDEA Charter School markets itself as a college preparatory education organization with goals of enrolling 100% of graduates in four-year universities and have 100% persistence and graduation rates in college.[1] Indeed, in the introduction of the most recent annual report, Dr. Tom Torkelson, CEO of IDEA Public Schools, makes the following statement: IDEA puts students […]

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Allan Elementary shows solid academic progress in year before charter takeover

October 15, 2012

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As Austin-area readers know, the Austin school board decided to hand over Allan elementary school to IDEA Charter Schools based in the Rio Grande Valley. This decision was based partially on the relatively poor performance on the state mandated Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills at Allan (although other East Side elementary schools had worse […]

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Middle School Charters in Texas: An Examination of Student Characteristics and Achievement Levels of Entrants and Leavers

August 23, 2012

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Introduction Charter schools have proliferated in Texas and across the nation. The expansion of charter schools is now a popular reform effort for many policymakers on both the right and left of the political spectrum. To examine the efficacy of such policies, a number of researchers have focused on the effects  charter schools have had […]

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New Component of Texas Accountability System: FASTLE

May 13, 2012

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Fiscal Accountability System for Texas Legislation in Education (FASTLE) I wrote this in response to Representative Aycock’s request for ideas on improving the accountability system. Unfortunately, he chose not to publish this suggestion. Perhaps he thought I was not serious (I am) or that it would never pass the Legislature (he is correct). I think […]

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The Priorities of DC Public Schools

February 16, 2012

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Much has been written about the investigations into cheating in DC public schools. While the investigations are ongoing, the evidence suggests either cheating or some massive teaching to the test efforts. Neither cheating nor teaching to the test benefits children in any way. In his 2008 book entitled “Measuring Up: What Do Test Scores Really […]

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Letter from an IDEA Mother

January 22, 2012

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Below are two e-mails I received from a mother whose child attends an IDEA elementary school. I am using her letter with permission. I have changed the gender of the child to neutral language and redacted certain information to protect her identity. Also, I typically do not use unsolicited, unverifiable emails. However, this person provided […]

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Rebuttal to the Austin ISD critique of my study on IDEA Charter Schools

January 7, 2012

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This post includes the information in my rebuttal to the Austin ISD critique of my study of the IDEA charter school system. The Statesman story can be found here: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/austin-school-district-says-critical-idea-study-doesnt-2085799.html Note that Dr. Julian Vasquez-Heilig, a researcher at UT Austin and recent recipient of a University Council for Educational Administration award for research by junior […]

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